Duelling Stories - Ste. Croix and Azevedo
Dueling stories of the 16th Century From the French of Brantome by George H Powell (AH Bullen 1904)
Originally published in Punta Dritta, March AS XXXV (2001)
These stories are my paraphrasing of his paraphrasing of Brantome. They are various strange true tales of duels that were fought in the 16thC, showing the rules and customs.
- Silfren the Singer
Two Spaniards approached M de Namours, the French King's Lieutenant in Italy and having heard so much of his courtesy, Chivalry, and reknown they asked if they could settle their quarrel before him. This was a great compliment to him, that they should prefer him to the Spanish lords, even to King Ferdinand.
On the appointed day all assembled and before de Namours and the Duchess de Ferrara the two men fought.
Captain Ste. Croix was wounded in the upper thigh so badly as to bare the bone, and there was such a flow of blood that as he was trying to advance and strike, he fell. His opponent, Azevedo said "Surrender or I'll kill you", but Ste. Croix said nothing, just sat down, grasped his sword, and resolved to die first.
Azevedo entreated him to get up, saying he couldn't strike him on the ground like that, and Brantome says that it looked so dangerous, with a man so desperate and courageous. Ste. Croix got up, staggered two paces, and fell again. Azevedo raised his sword to cut his opponent's head off, but drew it back. Nothing would make Ste. Croix yield, and the Duchess tried to intervene. But de Namours said no, he could not break the laws of the duel, it was only over when one died or surrendered.
Then Ste. Croix's second stepped forward and said that he knew his friend, and nothing would make Ste. Croix yield. So The second surrendered for him! It caused a great sensation, but de Namour accepted it, and the doctors attended Ste. Croix.
It might have ended there, but his men carried him off the field with his arms, and when Alzevedo demanded them as was his right, he was refused. de Namour said that if Ste. Croix refused to give them up, his wound would be unsewn and he'd be put back into the lists in exactly the same position as when his second had surrendered for him... The arms were given to the Chevalier Bayard who then gave them to the victor.